JKR/WB Respond in Lexicon Suit


Feb 28, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli

JKR and WB have filed a response to the latest filing by RDR Books in the ongoing lawsuit against the publishers of the intended book version of the Harry Potter Lexicon. There are decarations from: J.K. Rowling, author of HP; Cheryl Klein, senior editor at Scholastic Books; Prof. Landes from the University of Chicago; Suzanne Murphy from Scholastic; Emily Blumsack from O’Melveney & Meyers, and Jerri Johnson, Oxford professor, in addition to a main statement summarizing the response.

This is the last filing before a hearing on March 13 to determine if a preliminary injunction will be granted. After that there still may or may not be a trial to determine if infringement has taken place.

(While we wait for the documents to go up on Justia, we are hosting them on Leaky; you can right click any declaration-submitter’s name to download their declaration, and the main statement is linked below.)

The main statement says that JKR/WB has proved likelihood of success (if the judge thinks so too it will affect the case’s forward motion, if any) and that the proposed book copies an enormous amount of Harry Potter work verbatim. It also says the proposed book falls under a definition of derivative that RDR ignored in its assessment: that it is a “work based on one or more pre-existing works.” It says the book is “nothing more than a recast of Ms. Rowling’s original text,” which differentiates it from the Ty Beanie Baby book cited by RDR because that book contained “critical and evaluative” elements.

It also says the book has been called “supplementary” based solely on a “1966 academic lecture” discussing extending a 99-year-old act’s provisions for forewords, prefaces, prologues, epilogues and bibliographies.

The main complaint says that RDR cannot prove that it is likely to succeed on a fair use charge because it does not create “new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings.” It also says that attempts to cast it as a “serious book” filled with “scholarly commentary and analysis is merely an attempt to excuse blatant infringement.” It says “alphabetizing” does not render a work transformative and that reorganizing work does not alone render a work in concert with fair use. (It cites Video Pipeline, Inc., vs. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., on this claim.) It also argues against the notion that the book is similar in its fair use characteristics to Google’s thumbnail image search engine (as maintained by RDR in the last filing) and says there is no original commentary or analysis or “anything else rising to the level of scholarship.” It says RDR‘s expert also agrees, citing the filing that says that the book’s chief point is not literary analysis.

It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions.”

On the charge that RDR made that JKR/WB have selectively chosen material to support their claims, this complaint cites a court decision which says “no plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.” It also says that despite Steve Vander Ark claiming he used reference works, none are cited in the book or mentioned in the bibliography, and some appear to be taken from sources “such as Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary without attribution.” It also says entries on Harry and Voldemort basically tell the entire plot of the Harry Potter series.

“While there are many non-infringing books about the Series, books such as the Book are few in number and have been pulled from distribution as a result of Plaintiffs’ efforts.” It says the book would be a “significant” threat to JKR‘s market for her book, citing a court decision that said, “once purchased, the consumer is unlikely to purchase a second can opener.” It says the RDR marketing materials show that it is positioning the book as more comprehensive than others, and that publication would “signal that others may also free ride off Ms. Rowling’s works, flooding the market with copycat works.”

The following are summations of the included declarations:

J.K. Rowling’s declaration says that she:

1. …is “deeply troubled” by the portrayal of her efforts to protect and preserve her copyrights, “and feel[s] betrayed by Steven Vander Ark, as a person who calls himself a fan.”

2. …is “particularly concerned” about RDR‘s insistence that her acceptance of free fan websites justifies efforts to publish the potential book. “Such a position penalizes copyright owners like me for encouraging and supporting the activities of their respective fan communities. If RDR‘s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet. Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

3. …thinks that “99%” of fans are acting in good faith, and “as I have excellent relations with many members of the fan community, I find it devastating to contemplate the possibility of such a severe alteration of author-fan relations. I continue to believe that the online fandom has been a wonderful experience for thousands of people, myself included; that it has become, not only an enormous global book club, but engendered an explosion of creativity and communication rooted in a world we would all like to inhabit.”

4. …reiterates her statement that she has said she plans to publish a definitive Potter guide, and her intentions to donate the proceeds to charity. She says the Bloomsbury version of the Potter guide has already been given to her, and that she has begun “assembling and organizing” materials. “Naturally this means that my encyclopedia will contain all information in the published books. To suggest that I would omit from my encyclopedia the information already made available in the novels, can only spring from a willful misinterpretation of a selective quotation. I fully intend to write this encyclopedia, however..I am not prepared to commit to another deadline [and] do not believe I should be forced to make such a commitment or run the risk of losing the right to create my own encyclopedia on an exclusive basis. I thought that this was part of what my rights were as an author and copyright holder. I also feel strongly that RDR is attempting to interfere with my creative process by repeatedly arguing that a timeline for publication of my Harry Potter encyclopedia is necessary in order to prove that I mean to publish one at all. I am not a person to make statements lightly, particularly when it comes to statements that ultimately will set expectations for my fans.”

5. …is disheartened by Steve Vander Ark’s actions despite long-time knowledge of her intention to write this encyclopedia, and responds to RDR‘s request for her to prove her intention by citing her seven published novels and two published charity books, and says that she does not think any “reasonable person would question my good faith in this regard.”

6. … feels the premise that fans will buy both encyclopedias is “presumptuous and insensitive,” owing the first to an assumption that everyone would want to have two encyclopedias and the second to assuming they could afford both. ”..it is obvious to me that many people do not have money to buy every book that appeals to them.”

7. …says RDR has misquoted her or taken statements out of context. She refers to the joking comment on PotterCast about taking “ten years” to do the Harry Potter encyclopedia as misrepresentive and “inappropriately cut off at a selective moment…the very next thing i said in that interview is that I wanted to give people everything in the companion guide and do ‘the absolute definitive guide.’”

8. … says that when she awarded the Lexicon the Fan Site Award she never thought it would be used by Steve Vander Ark to “attempt to legitimize an attempt to profit financially form my work. At that time I believed him to be…a true enthusiast who simply wished to share his enjoyment of Harry Potter with others.” She says the oft-quoted citation in which she used an Internet cafe to check a fact rather than purchasing a copy of her own books is representative of “its only value to me” being “that it was occasionally more convenient to access, in a situation where I was likely to be recognized in public, than it would have been to walk into a bookstore and purchase” Harry Potter. She also says she has never indicated that any FSA winner is a “favorite” and never intended for the award to be taken by “anyone as an authorization for them to create and sell [an] infringing Harry Potter book for profit.”

9. …feels “intensely protective” of the world she created and of the fans who have bought “my books in such huge numbers. I feel that I have a duty to these readers to ensure, as far as possible, that Harry Potter does not become associated with substandard versions, whether in the world of film or in any other medium. I believe that RDR‘s book constitutes a Harry Potter ‘rip off’ of the type I have spent years trying to prevent and that both I, as the creator of this world, and fans of Harry Potter, would b e exploited by its publication.”

10. …feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

Cheryl Klein‘s declaration:
The declaration from Cheryl Klein addresses the RDR submission of a note she had written to Steve Vander Ark in 2005, complimenting his work, after the publication of Half-Blood Prince. It points out that Steve Vander Ark once said to Ms. Klein that one of the purposes of the Lexicon was to dissuade people from publishing unofficial encyclopedias, in deference to rights J.K. Rowling has reserved.

The declaration says, “It is my practice to foster good relations with the Harry Potter fan community…it was in this vein that I wrote the note…as a friendly gesture of good will…At no time did I ever say anything to Mr. Vander Ark to suggest that it would be acceptable for him to publish a Harry Potter encyclopedia.”

Her declaration goes on to say that “to the contrary,” Steve Vander Ark made clear to Ms. Klein that his understanding was that J.K. Rowling had reserved the rights to produce her own encyclopedia. The documents cite an e-mail from August 3, 2006, in which he apologized for a comment he had made at a fan event (the conference Lumos 2006, which Cheryl Klein attended in an unofficial capacity) and said that “one of the purposes of the Lexicon was to dissuade other people from writing a Harry Potter encyclopedia in light of Ms. Rowlnig’s intentions.”

The documents quote the email’s postscript, which says, “PS It might interest you to know that George Beahm [a third party author] commented that he had originally intended to write an encyclopedia of Harry Potter (which Jo has specifically reserved for herself, I understand) but seeing the Lexicon convinced him not to bother. I want you to know that one of the express purposes of the Lexicon is to dissuade people from that sort of thing, so I was particularly happy to hear him say that.”

Emily Blumsack’s declaration (and her exhibits)

Emily Blumsack, a lawyer for JKR/WB, assesses each of the books that RDR claims is similar enough to the proposed Lexicon book to indicate that permission to publish such books has already been granted. She also monitored fan activity and noted several statements made by Steve Vander Ark and others. She notes that:

RDR recognized in a previous email that there was no clear competitor or book like the proposed Lexicon in print, and that every other book on the subject was out of date, which speaks against the RDR claim that there are other books like the Lexicon’s on the market.

RDR recognizes the advantage of being first to publish and advised Steve Vander Ark not to publish book seven contents on his Web site to avoid that content being co-opted by MuggleNet, who was considering publishing an encyclopedia at the time (they stopped when they received a cease-and-desist from the Christopher Little Agency). The email from RDR to Steve Vander Ark said, “Remember, Mugglenet would love to see your book 7 material on the web. I would appreciate it if you would not put the book seven updates on your website until after your book has been out for awhile. Sound like a good idea?”

The declaration says that, “upon learning that the competing book was no longer slated for publication…Mr. Vander Ark has since started updating the Lexicon website with this material.”

She cites two public statements Steve Vander Ark made on this issue on a public discussion list, one saying that he would go forward with an encyclopedia if JKR decided not to, and that without JKR‘s permission “I won’t publish…in any form except online. [Ms. Rowling is] entitled to that market, not me and not [another author.]

She also mentions that RDR recognizes that Steve Vander Ark’s persona presents potential harm to JKR‘s encyclopedia, by quoting an email from RDR that calls Steve Vander Ark a “rock star” and “Elvis like figure” at fan events. She says also that “Mr. Vander Ark continues to work at remaining well known in the Harry Potter fan community, despite this lawsuit. He has even planned to take a prominent role in these kinds of events through the upcoming year, for example, by featuring as a Harry Potter expert on a tour of Potter-related locations throughout England scheduled for this summer. (This cites that tour as “The Ultimate Tour with Steve Vander Ark,” an HP Fan Trips tour – that title was very recently changed to omit Steve Vander Ark’s name.)

“In fact, the very same day that Plaintiffs filed…Mr. Vander Ark was speaking in Manhattan at an event sponsored by the New York Public Library entitled, ‘Meet Steve Vander Ark, Author of the Harry Potter Lexicon.’”

Ms. Blumsack also notes that 40 percent of the material in the book was written by other members of the staff or guest contributors and volunteers, then quotes two LeakyLounge members (dresdenfiles.fan and cbm) who publicly stated that while they contributed to the Lexicon they had no knowledge that they were contributing to a for-profit book.

She then cites an example of Steve Vander Ark having “sicced” his lawyer on someone who had “written a book which he wants to sell” based on his Web site, Accio Quote and Jo’s web site. The statement said, “I’m sorry but that’s where I draw the line. I will not stand for someone stealing my material and using it to scam fans out of money…I don’t like doing things like this. But this leech is not a true fan.” Ms. Blumsack says this is exactly what Steve Vander Ark is trying to do.

Ms. Blumsack also says that she found no proof to Steve Vander Ark’s claims that he attempted to set up a meeting about his book between himself and the Christopher Little Literary Agency, noting that the emails between Steve Vander Ark and Emma Schlesinger did not mention his intent to publish.

Her last exhibit is an email exchange between Roger Rapoport and spokesperson Richard Harris (who told TLC in November that he was new to the publisher) dated late September 2007 (two weeks after the first cease-and-desist letter was sent), discussing the wording of the dislcaimer on the book to make it more clear that the book is not authorized or approved by J.K. Rowling. Mr. Harris said to Roger Rapoport, “Just because you say it’s a ‘critical reference work’ or covered by the fair use doctrine doesn’t mean it is. I think ‘reference work’ and ‘reader’s guide’ protect it as fully as possible.” It also mentions that the book, at that point, had not been fully submitted or typeset.

Suzanne Murphy‘s declaration

Suzanne Murphy is a Vice President in publishing and marketing at Scholastic and speaks to RDR‘s claim that a fan would buy both encyclopedias. She says that RDR “misunderstands the market” and says that while the core of fans “if they had the money” would purchase “everything Ms. Rowling writes,” the “general consumers may not feel the need to have two Harry Potter encyclopedias. For a significant segment of the general book consuming market, if they buy the Infringing Book, when presented with a later opportunity to purchase Ms. Rowling’s encyclopedia, they will decline as their perspective will be that they ‘already bought one.’ As a result, if the Infringing Book is allowed to be published it will usurp a key segment” of the market for JKR‘s and the diminished sales “could not easily be quantified.”

She also notes that RDR “appears to have had some awareness” that the book would hurt the market for JKR‘s book because exhibits have indicated that Steve Vander Ark “refrained from including the full list of entries from Ms. Rowling’s companion guide ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them’ on his Lexicon website because ‘it would take away sales of the book.’” She further claims that RDR has tacitly agreed that there would be harm rendered to JKR‘s market for her book because they say that the “harm” of not being first to publish an encyclopedia has already been done. She says they have taken the “very opposite position” concerning the Lexicon book as they have in the past: “Far from being just one of many, RDR claims in its marketing materials and emails that the Infringing Book is the first and only comprehensive guide to the Harry Potter world containing information from all seven Harry Potter books. In an email to a Canadian publisher…RDR stated ‘…there is no other Harry Potter reference book hitting the market that is in any way similar to what we are doing. Other books look like the Idiot[s] Guide to Harry Potter are junk. Our book is written by 20 academic scholars and reference experts. This is the only complete reference work based on the number one Harry Potter website in the world…It is also the first complete reference book on the series.’”

Ms. Murphy says it is clear the books would be in competition and that “the ability to be first to publish the complete, definitive guide to Harry Potter” is “extremely valuable.”

She also addresses the books like the Lexicon book that RDR cited in its claim, noting that “many of these books are out of print; or either have been or will be removed from the market or significantly revised because of the enforcement efforts of Plaintiffs. Of the four remaining books, ‘The End of Harry Potter?,’ ‘Facts, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World,’ ‘The Magical World of Harry Potter,’ and ‘An Unofficial Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World,’…none of these books cover all seven Harry Potter books and all of them are distinct from the Infringing Book because of their content, which includes essays, analysis, commentary and discussion. As a result, the existence of these books is irrelevant to the analysis as to whether or not there is a competitive advantage to being the first.”

She says the publication of the Lexicon book would “diminish the distinctiveness of Ms. Rowling’s work” because there is “a cachet of distinctiveness that comes from simply being first.”

She also says that the book has been claimed as one of scholarship but from her understanding, has been marketed to children’s bookstores and children’s book buyers at major retail chains. “A work of scholarship or reference more often than not would not be marketed to children’s book buyers nor would it appear in the children’s section of any bookstore.”

William Landes‘ declaration:

William Landes is the Clifon R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School. His declaration addresses the potential market harm of the Lexicon book. It first reviews his previous declaration, which reviewed fair use and its potential for promoting or detracting from economic efficiency. It says the Lexicon book meets none of the conditions in which fair use promotes that efficiency, and points out that RDR has not “directly challenged the economic analysis of any of these issues presented in my prior declaration.” He also says there has been no challenge to the claim that protecting copyright encourages creation, or that allowing derivative works to be copyrighted would increase costs of creating or licensing work. It reminds that RDR claims the assertions of market harm are “unsupported.” The rest of the lengthy declaration says that the statements by RDR are “based on erroneous economic reasoning and are not supported by available data.”

Mr. Landes says it would harm J.K. Rowling’s book because:

-It has been emphasized in its marketing as being first

-It would reduce sales of her own book and therefore the donation to charities that would ensure, and would raise transaction costs for authors of derivative works

He mentions that for some, the Lexicon book would be their only purchase of a Harry Potter encyclopedia, and says the idea the official book would not be damaged because the same information is available on the Lexicon website because a website is impossible to give as a gift to a Harry Potter fan. “If the Lexicon were a perfect substitute for the [book] Lexicon, there would be no reason to incur the extra costs of publishing the book. Even if it is an imperfect substitute for the volume that Ms. Rowling expects to produce, the Lexicon would adversely affect demand for Ms. Rowling’s book.

He further cites potential harm by mentioning:
1. …that Steve Vander Ark “has a prominent role in the Harry Potter community.” The declaration mentions an article that reports on people taking pictures of and asking autographs of Mr. Vander Ark, and cites a (2004 or early 2005) UrbanWire interview calling him an expert. He also mentions that Steve Vander Ark has spoken at conferences Nimbus 2003, Convention Alley 2004, Accio 2005, Lumos 2006, Patronus 2006, Sectus 2007 and Prophecy 2007.

2. …that the mainstream media also consider him an authority, citing Mr. Vander Ark’s interview on an A&E television special called “Harry Potter: The Hidden Secrets,” which was later on the OOTP DVD version, relabeled as “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” It also mentions the New York Times, USA Today and the Today Show as having interviewed Mr. Vander Ark.

3. …that the Lexicon web site “is one of the most popular Harry Potter fan sites.” Internet traffic, the declaration says, indicates the site gets over 92,000 unique visitors per month, “second only to MuggleNet.com among Harry Potter fan sites,” according to QuantCast.com. It notes that the JKR and WB sites get about 260,000 unique visitors per month.

4. …that the Lexicon’s status as a member of the Floo Network, “linkage that provides Vander Ark a wide platform to market his book to its audience of Harry Potter fans.”

5. …that the MuggleNet book is mentioned as an ancillary Harry Potter book that has achieved great commercial success; an article claimed the book sold 335,000 copies and was on the Children’s Paperback Bestsellers List for 20 weeks. He also mentions that the book was published by Ulysses Press, also an independent publisher like RDR, suggesting RDR‘s previous lack of big titles would not preclude it from large commercial success with this book and therefore would pose potential harm.

6. …that the other books are not “first movers” because the other books differ from the Lexicon’s. “Only one of these six volumes, ‘Field Guide to Harry Potter,’ was published after the seventh and last volume of the Harry Potter series was completed. However, according to Nielsen BookScan, the ‘Field Guide’ has sold only 201 units and thus cannot be considered to have usurped any first-mover advantage.” Of the other books, he says, one, David Langford’s “The End of Harry Potter?” is not marketed as an encyclopedia, and none of the remaining books were published after the series was completed. Also, none have been successful. “I understand that the defendant now acknowledges that the last three of these books have been withdrawn from the market, apparently at the request of the plaintiffs, due to concerns about copyright violation.” (Those “last three” are: “The JK Rowling Encyclopedia,” “A Muggle’s Guide to Exploring the Wizarding World,” and “Harry Potter A to Z: The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia.”)

Jerri Johnson‘s Declaration

Jerri Johnson, from Exeter College at Oxford University, has submitted a second declaration refuting the claim that the book is scholarly or a research book, saying it does not meet the standards as set by the “Modern Language Association in the U.S. or the Research Assessment Exercise for Higher Education in the U.K.”

She points out that the opposing critic pointed to reference books on public domain works, like those of Shakespeare, and Tolkien or C.S. Lewis companion books that were written either by the author or with the author’s consent.

She says that much of the book’s content is lifted directly from the series and that evidence of etymological research are “sprinkled sporadically and rarely throughout the Lexicon and…reflect scant evidence of scholarship as, among other things, they are often wrong.” She says those instances bear the signs of someone having “scavenged about, sometimes through a dictionary of a language he seems not to understand, for the likeliest synonym.” She cites the entry for “colloportus,” which is referenced as derived from the Latin “collego, to bind together,” and “portus, door,” when the term “portus” is usually tnce.” She also says that it is “oddly etymologically silent at times.”

She also says it fails to follow “the first rule of scholarly research: full and proper citation of one’s sources,” citing instances of a lack of source such as one definition that comes “verbatim, from Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary,” and another, for the entry for Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim, which is quoted “virtually verbatim” from Encyclopedia Brittanica online.

She says the single error the book might offer research is for the errors found in the book, though the book says, “remarkably few genuine [errors] exist.”

Also, two article updates:

Methuen, the British publisher of the book, says it is “fairly confident” that the judge will rule in RDR‘s favor and plans to proceed with publication in April in that case.

Harvard Law blogger and copyright/IP professor Derek Bambauer says that a recent NYT article on the case “Foul[ed] Up Fair Use” and contains an “embarassingly simple mistake of copyright law.”

284 Responses to JKR/WB Respond in Lexicon Suit

Avatar Image says:

interesting response. i’m somewhat undecided.

well done, melissa. you were born to be a journalist.

peace and good luck to all parties. i hope this can all be worked out,


Avatar Image says:

Sigh, JKR doesn’t deserve this kind of stress. Now it’s definite that this Potter Guide won’t be nearly as good as it would’ve been had this case never happened.

Avatar Image says:

I find this all hugely sad. I think Steve needs to back down before he embarrasses himself further. He lost all credibility when he pursued litigation with the author whose work he claims to admire. I feel sorry for Ms. Rowling.

Avatar Image says:

LOL, this case only proves I was born to be a stenographer or transcirber, though I appreciate the comment. :)

Just a quiet and pre-emptive thanks to everyone for keeping it cool in here...thanks.
Avatar Image says:

Is it me or does that pic of Melissa look a bit like Bonnie Wright?

Avatar Image says:

Wonderful post Melissa. Hopefully Jo’s statement will enlighten some people who are under the impression that going after SVA/RDR is an attack on HP fandom. Oh and is there anywhere we might be able to read Jo’s complete statement?

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, you ROCK!!! Agree with Susie, you were born to be a journalist! Thanks a ton for all the effort you’re putting in to get this case to us in such a clear way.

The response seems balanced enough. Poor poor Jo, I can’t even imagine what she must be going through right now. :( It’s terrible to think that after 17 years of slogging with the HP books, now she can’t even get some peace to write the encyclopedia. I hope SVA backs off now, or is it too late to do that?

Avatar Image says:

“(JKR) feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”


We love and support you, Jo. I am so sorry you are even having to deal with this travesty.

Avatar Image says:

It’s old and out of focus, don’t be fooled, I look absolutely nothing like her!

I think these documents will soon be on Justia and therefore I should be able to give you links to read them yourself soon.

Avatar Image says:

I’m glad that Jo hasn’t backed down from this! She is protecting HER work and the work of all other authors. Copyright means only the orginal person can release work didn’t Lexicon know that?? I mean I learned that in Middle school!!!!!!! I will buy the book. but only if done by Jo!

Avatar Image says:

These posts always make me feel sad, although I definitely do appreciate Melissa for slogging through all of this for us. (Thanks!)

Avatar Image says:

Forgive me for sounding like a mum, but… Melissa, do you ever find time to sleep, eat… or breathe?

::is in awe of you::

Avatar Image says:

Thanks, Melissa and the rest of the TLC staff, for keeping us up to date on the news. Can’t wait to see the documents on Justia…

Avatar Image says:

Ashely, thanks for your concern; I guarantee that this is nothing less prosaic than summarization – certainly not awe-worthy behavior. But I appreciate it nonetheless. :) Don’t worry, I’m going to bed. In five minutes.

Avatar Image says:

What can I say, other than – wow. WB has got RDR in a corner and has totally exposed them and the scam that they’re trying to run. Really compelling evidence.

Avatar Image says:

thanks – i’ve been waiting for all this. quite sobering.

Avatar Image says:

OMG this is still going on. Why has this not been chucked out of court. They are not going to win it’s Jo’s world full stop.

SVA needs to get a life. Sorry but he does.

Avatar Image says:

Also would like to think Mel for taking the time to post and summerize all of this.

This really didnt bring anything new to the party, alot of what was said in these responces we have heard from the people before, and in the case of the lawyers comments at the end, we had discussed and picked at for months now and came many times as a group to similer or the same conclusions.

this is a mucky swamp, but putting loyalty to jk rowling as the sole creator of harry potter aside, how anyone could support RDR seems ludicris. There is something to be said for how JKR/WB/Scholastic/Bloomsbury/Cristopher Little Agency has handled this with clear and diginified responce, where as RDR Books has handled it like snarling cavemen, showing a lack of comprehenstion for the legal rights of authors something a publisher no matter if they are a large publishing house printing hundreds of new titles a year to a small one who might only publish 10 a year should understand strictly for the purpose of knowing how to protect their authors and their publication rights and the rules of fair use and copyright laws meant to keep everything in line.

RDR Books has been highly unprofessonal throughout this higher affair, acting not as adults, or as a legittamate buisness, but often acting childish and immature. they take swips without legittamately defending their statements, which often, they go back on and do a completel 180 degree turn, meaning one of their statements by law can be considered a lie filed to the courts. the Courts job now is to look at how both sides have acted and what they had said in their filings and responces, and decide upon the legality of said statements and actions and make a decision.

RDR Books did nearly exactly what Nancy Stouffer did. Nancy Stouffer forged documents that she would not have a legal right to have to try to prove that jk rowling was a american citizen, and therefore, would have had access to in her words a hugely popular book written by her, nancy stouffer. in effect, she lied to the court and forged documents to try to build her case against jo. now, RDR Books has already lied to the court through their conflicting and contradicting statements in this case, the most prominent being first stating that the lexicon book is not commentary, and that if WB and JKR wants to know what the book is, they should print out the website, then turning around and stating to the courts that the book is commentary and critical anaylasis. something anyone who read through the court documents which included the filings of vast tracks of the lexicon book knows is not the case.

Avatar Image says:

You rock, Melissa :)

Avatar Image says:

...and WB answers with the death nell for RDR Books and their case.

Go Jo!

Avatar Image says:

Thanks again, Melissa. That’s a pile of work. Great job…and I look forward to the updates.

Avatar Image says:

Is it just me, or did jo take quite a few swipes at steve vander ark and how its hard to see how he can call himself a true fan if he is trying to undermine her and the fans of the series?

Avatar Image says:

She said exactly what she thought and how she felt over this debacle that RDR/SVA have instigated.

I wouldn’t call it ‘swipes’ per se, but its almost like she ‘blog-slapped’ him.

Avatar Image says:

No great sitution indeed. http://community.livejournal.com/deadlyhollow

Avatar Image says:

I don’t know, it seemed a bit like a good strong scolding to me rather than swipes. Just shy of furious rant. My grandmother was a master of them.

Avatar Image says:

“If RDR’s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet. Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities.”

And there it is folks, straight from the authors mouth (or pen, or computer…) Regardless of our own personal opinions in this case Jo understands better than we do the larger outcome if she loses and she has now put it on record what will end up happening. If she loses this case there goes fanfiction for a start.

It is unfortunate, and when all is said and done if this is the road she has to take, people will hate her but her actions will be completely justified. If she loses, that will be the precedent for many more attempts to milk off her creation. She has to protect what is hers.

Avatar Image says:

oi it lookslike Mr.Vander ark is going to wish he had the Deathly Hallows or maybe a horcrux as it seems he is indeed interms of this case

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

My jaw hit the floor when reading this. What a damm shame it came to this.

(Great news post, thank you Leaky)

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And so it is…we finally have the final nail in the HP Lexicon book’s coffin. This is completely devastating for RDR’s case. There’s no way they will survive this.

Another thing that won’t survive? The Lexicon website. I won’t be surprised to see Steve take it down the day after a judgement is handed down.

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

As pointed out by MaraudingDon, this part of the article just wowed me. It’s how I’ve felt about this case and Jo obviously feels the same. I just can’t believe that Steve/RDR haven’t backed down when they are so obviously in the wrong. My opinion of this man is plummeting.

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“If RDR’s position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the internet.”

I continue to be disturbed by this line of reasoning, and by claims that our opinions should be disregarded, or that “Jo knows better than we do.” Jo did not create the fansites, she merely supports them, just as we did not create the books, we support them. The conclusion that authors (and Jo speaks only for herself here) must do anything in particular regarding fansites if RDR wins is not forgone. Jo and her team want us on their side, and this is more about that than about any action they would need to take or not take.

I continue to maintain that there are dangers for fansites in a JKR/WB victory as well.

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There’s far more danger in a RDR/SVA victory than in one for JKR/WB. I’ll take the one that screws fandom over less, which is the side that Jo and WB are on.

If RDR win, it’s pretty much a death knell for fan fiction, fan art, or any other fannish endeavor. If Jo wins, the worst that happens is we lose the Lexicon site, which isn’t as big of a loss. There’s already at least one HP wiki that’s more user friendly, and they’re not trying to get a book deal.

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I know that’s the common perception. A great deal depends on how the court writes its opinion. I don’t believe any decision that supports the notion that our fansites today only exist on the sufferance of the authors is going to help fansites in any way.

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As always, adding my voice to the chrous thanking Melissa and TLC for keeping us informed.

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I don’t think Jo is remotely implying that fansites only exist because of her approval or sufferance. What she is saying is that she will have to be careful about what aspects of her copyrighted, protected work she will allow them to use, not that the site will not be allowed to exist at all.

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I think that’s basically correct, CB—but she and others don’t have the time to (and would make no money from) going around policing internet sites one-by-one and story-by-story.

So what is she saying? How would the “significant negative impact” to “genuine fans” actually occur? There is frankly nothing an author or publisher could do except a) stop talking to us and b) sue us. The idea that an RDR victory will have a negative impact on fansites is a threat to sue somebody, however much we love Jo.

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I found this when I went to Google News and googled “lexicon lawsuit” ... Leaky came up along with the Wall Street Journal as a “news source”. Go Leaky!!! Melissa Rocks!!!

Are you going to ever sell shares in your media empire? If so, please send me the prospectus as soon as it is available. I want in!


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no favorite FSA?

Oh, Jo… you have an awful memory… http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/static_downloads/jkr-ootp-rah.mp3

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It would be very helpful if you simply provided links instead of summaries. I’ve worked as a legal secretary and know all too well how easy it is to distort the actual content of a filing.

Also, your bias toward Rowling is blatant. Cut it out and stop acting like a fanpoodle for once in your life, Melissa. Or isn’t it enough that you stole this website from its founder?

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Strong work. You go, Jo. Thanks Melissa/Leaky for the info!

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Ellid – that’s a bit harsh. I think Melissa has been extremely fair. Stole the website? What’s that about?

Steve Vander Ark – I love the Lexicon, but I just don’t think you should publish it for profit.

Best wishes to all.

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10. ...feels frustrated that a “former fan” has tried to “co-opt my work for financial gain. The Harry Potter books are full of moral choices and ethical dilemmas, and, ironically, Mr. Vander Ark’s actions tend to demonstrate that he is woefully unfit to represent himself as either a ‘fan of’ or ‘expert on’ books whose spirits he seems entirely to have missed.”

This paragraph also made an earthquake rumble impact on me too. (sorry for the earthquake analogy, we just had one in UK! trust Jo to prove how great a writer she is – summarising her feeling with such ease. I have to laugh though as reading Jo’s declaration was more like reading her blog!

We have heard both sides of the story and we heard enough. I always felt like giving Steve Van Der Ark (I still think thats a fantastic name!) the benefit of the doubt but as the the case went on, there were not muc doubts for him to benefit from. Now I feel there isnt any at all. He is coming across as a self delusional, egoistic, and ultimately greedy fella. I say “coming across” but it will take a helluva big twist to this sorry tale to change my mind.

I will read anything that Jo writes because she writes from the heart and soul.

Kudos again to Melissa for her high quality and in depth journalism. I simply cant wait to read her book about the fandom.

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@ Ellid:

I too, am a legal secretary. I’ve followed this story from the get go. As always, TLC has been utterly professional and unbiased. Once the filings have been made available to Justia via the web, Melissa has ALWAYS provided the links. Until then, she provides great summarization of the facts so that we know the news.

Taking personal swats at Melissa or TLC, rather than commenting on what has been reported upon, shows you for what you truly are. An RDR/SVA sockpuppet who needs to get over themselves.

Keep up the good, work, Melissa and the TLC.

@ Loren:

Hey, if it comes down to whether or not simply allowing her copyrighted material to so generously appear on fansites without contesting as considered abanoning her copyrights for every Tom, Dick, and Steve to steal for themselves, I’m not surprised that Rowling {or any other author for that matter} would impose severe restrictions upon sites to prevent a further loss of copyrighted materials. That’s not only good business but good common sense.

Some fans made this leap of logical conclusion, some fans have argued this from day one, but either no one believed it or thought it a real possibility. Now we know which side of the fandom was correct. If she’s forced to clamp down on fandom because of Steve’s hubris, blame the person responsible, the “former big name fan, Steve”, and not the author who’s only protecting her rights.

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Unless this judge is a complete idiot, RDR stands no chance. Hopefully this entire ordeal will soon be over.

(Of course, that’s not going to stop the media from portraying JKR as a “copyright hog” and a money-scrounging villain.)

Who else just wishes this had never happened?

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Thanks Melissa. Jo’s declaration was both dignified and damning. Ellid typo Elide. “Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy … ” (GoF, 628; uk)

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I think the one thing we ALL seem to be able to agree on is that we wish this had never happened.

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Cara, I don’t think there are really ‘sides’ in the fandom. You and I just disagree on where all the risks to the fandom lie. I believe everything. I think everything is possible.

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Ellid…I am sorry, but I have to take acception to your “I’ve worked as a legal secretary and know all to well how easy it is to distort the actual content of a filing.” followed by “Your bias toward Rowling is blatant. Cut it out and stop acting like a fanpoodle for ones in your life, Melissa”....

A. Being a “legal secretary” does not make you an “expert” on leaglease (sp) [with apologies, here, for any disrespect to Legal Secretaries.] B. Melissa’s information is not HER OWN OPINION, it is the transcript (as far as I can tell not being a “legal secretary”) having looked at the documents, on line, myself) Nor is it biased toward JKR. And C. I applaud Melissa and Leaky for giving us the information, here, in such a way. Yes, we can go and look, for ourselves. It is not a matter of “distort the actual content of a filing”. It IS the filing!

Thank you “fanpoodle” for giving us this information.

Sorry this is so long…thank you, again Melissa. Your hard work is a testament to the integrity of TLC’s care for Ms Rowling and Harry Potter Fandom.

Gail Callicott

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Please forgive me. The quote, from Ellid, was mispoken: it should read ”...once….” Sorry for the mis quote, Ellid.


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I happen to agree that J.K.Rowlings has the Creative Rights and privilege to take as long as she needs in order to make the Ultimate Scottish Book! Who else really knows about the secret conversations that Jo has been having with her characters, filling her in on details and deep dark secrets, that have not appeared in print.- yet!

At least give her time to let the characters sit down, and enjoy some tea and biscuits while she does some proper relaxing research! It’s Jo, remember the woman who gave the world many delightful surprises? It will be worth the wait, and the Midnight line!

Has Elvis left the building of his Ark? This is just too fan creep show for me – Signatures? Guest appearances? Does he come with a cape and fly in? EEK! There are fans like Melissa (YEAH!), and there are very confused mind boggled blighter’s.

I look forward to the day where there are no more articles about this Legal entanglement in Aragog’s web! Not all fans have 8 legs and spin webs!

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this is the part that got me:

-It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter, and says the remainder “merely [add] adverbs such as ‘unfortunately,’ ‘sadly,’ or ‘possibly’ to descriptions.” -

um…WOW. to me, that seems like blatant copyright infringement.

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And here Jo was, finally finished with it all, finally ready to get some rest after years and years of deadlines…

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First of all, thank you Melissa for summarizing the arguments.

These 3 things really stood out to me: 1) Vander Ark repeatedly said within the last two years that he would never write an encyclopedia because Jo had intended to do so. He even wanted his website to discourage people from doing it. 2) That the books RDR provided in their response are not similar to the Lexicon and the Scottish Book for various reasons. First, most of them were printed before the final book was published. Second, many of them are no longer in print (due to copyright issues. 3) Some of the information in the Lexicon is wrong, poorly researched, and poorly cited. He even copyrights from other sources. Come on Steve, take an MLA course please.

I was also surprised that Jo really went after Steve. I feel sorry for him, because we all know he loves the fandom. Now he’s ticked off the creator of the franchise, and probably has lost a lot of credibility within the fandom itself. Why did you do it Steve? Is it really worth it?

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I read the whole thing once again, after the update. Like most people here, I’m pretty sure if RDR wins the case, we know JKR/WB’s stance, and I don’t disagree with them one bit. It’ll be the end of fandom, not only in HP, but for a lot of other books too.

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emmy, that’s exactly what I was feeling worst about. Jo thought she finally could get a little time off for herself, a little peace of mind to “slip off into her own world” again, and this comes along…

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I have been on the fence about this, because being in academia, I tend to want reference books, and I didn’t realize exactly how Jo’s book would be. I also didn’t think the sale of this book would interfere with the Scottish one. I didn’t like RDR’s tactics, but I was undecided.

This post includes a lot of very good points though. Do you market a reference work to children? Is the work that shoddy? Also, the point about SVA’s book being the “first” of its kind and the possibility of its being bought by adults as a present to children… How many adults are likely to buy two encyclopedias for their children…

Finally, hearing from Jo herself. That pretty much sealed it. It makes you stop and think.

RDR will be bankrupt after this.

Anyway, thanks Melissa for the great summaries. I don’t have a great deal of time, and I appreciate it.

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For the record I’m in Jo’s corner. Don’t know why the lexicon would have to forward anyways since Jo’s Encyclopedia would be a very similar ?

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These statements are most worrying to me:

“It counts 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries that lift text directly from Harry Potter…” “It also says that despite Steve Vander Ark claiming he used reference works, none are cited in the book or mentioned in the bibliography…”

While I am leaning toward one side for the first time, I couldn’t help but find this a bit ridiculous on Emily Blumsack’s part:

“She also monitored fan activity and noted several statements made by Steve Vander Ark and others. She notes that:.. Steve Vander Ark’s persona presents potential harm to JKR’s encyclopedia, by quoting an email from RDR that calls Steve Vander Ark a “rock star” and “Elvis like figure” at fan events…”

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I need to respond to Ellid, because I too have worked as a legal secretary - and as a journalist - and know what an intellectual exercise it is to read through a brief and draw out the pertinent points—without bias.

Because this latest summary concerns Jo’s brief against RDR and Vander Ark, we are only going read the plaintiffs’ (Jo’s team’s) legal points and arguments against the defendant (RDR/Vander Ark). Naturally, that means that they will paint a negative picture of Vander Ark, and will dismiss his counsel’s legal arguments. Once the defendants respond, you will then hear their counterarguments, and I’m sure that Melissa will enumerate those in as much evenhanded detail as she has done with the plaintiffs’ brief.

However, Ellid, if you are claiming that you have read through the entire brief yourself and its numerous attachments, and can find and prove that Melissa has been prejudicially selective in her summary, I will stand by your assessment that she has distorted the facts in this case.

But I doubt that you - or anyone else - has the time, patience or expertise to read through the entire brief, or did so before you accused her of bias.

Melissa has done us all a service by trying to give us the facts about the case in a fair and journalistically ethical manner. Unlike many fansite writers, Melissa is a professional journalist in her “real life”, and therefore holds herself to a high set of ethics in her reporting, an integrity which she has demonstrated in earlier articles. She has a reputation to protect as a responsible journalist, even on a fansite; she bylines all her articles, and is read by thousands daily, including fellow journalists. Despite her affection for Jo, Melissa would not hurt her career and livelihood by distorted reporting.

Considering that Steve Vander Ark was a friend and frequent guest on TLC, this entire case must be immensely personally distressing to Melissa, Sue and John. She and her staff must walk an incredibly careful line until this case is resolved—reporting on the issue that is of such great concern to all HP fans and yet not personally commenting on the proceedings. To their very great credit, I think they are succeeding in doing so.

Melissa is letting the briefs speak for themselves and is not gatekeeping or slanting this information to benefit the plaintiff. All you need to do is read her previous reportage on the defendants’ (Vander Ark’s) briefs to see how truly equitable she is trying to be. After reading those summaries, one can even be convinced that Steve’s team is right and Jo’s is wrong. What could be fairer reporting than that?

Melissa, kudos again on your responsible, unbiased reporting on this issue, and please know we deeply appreciate your efforts during this difficult time.

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Just want to add that those phrases “and as a journalist” and “or anyone else” in my previous comment should not have been struck through. I keep using dashes to separate thoughts in the comments section, and they end up posting as struck through. I’ll start using comma from now on!

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Ellid, your comments are unfounded and downright lies. Melissa has enforced no opinion on us and has merely reported the facts and I thank her for doing so.

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Thank you Melissa for such alot of posting. I am always behind Jo, I trust her all the way because she is the person that gave us this beloved world be cherish, so if she doesnt write it or like it neither do I. Leave her alone she deserves time to herself and family. I only buy work that is from her, YOU GO JO!

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Perfect World for fans:

1. We can read all the books and encyclopedias on Harry Potter

2. We can have our fan-sites

3. We can all stay united and enjoy Harry Potter together.

Remember Harry Potter was not always right. He had to learn things along the way. But at the end, he got his ‘perfect world’. Let’s hope for this!

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I figure ‘Ellid’ is probably the legal secretary for RDR’s team. No bias there.

I’ll be purchasing only one Harry Potter encyclopedia. JKR’s.

Good work Melissa

Thanks, OMT

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Thank you, Melissa, for giving us this information so quickly and in an unbaised manner (in my opinion).

It is sad that this whole situation had to resort to this…but there is no question that Jo and WB will win now.

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Hello, Ellid! I haven´t read your comment, so I cannot say I agree with you. But it is striking that people here always react in the same stereotypical way.

RDR´s book is not published yet and the citing can still be added.But it was not clever of Steve to forget that. It shows that he is indeed careless with the efforts of other people. I can understand RDR´s wish to publish a ´money-maker`. And sure a giant like scholastic is playing at the edge of law as well ( I assume).

Regarding choices: Jo has chosen in the beginning to sign a contract with the giants. I´m not sure if this is a morally correct choice. But she is a christian! It would lead to far to argue this point here.

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Citing could still be added…yeah, with a publish date of less than a month to go, sure, it could have been added. Of course, it should have been there in the first place.

Perhaps if he’d not lifted text directly from HP text for a grand total of ” 2,034 entries out of the book’s 2,437 entries” and thrown in a token amount of adverbs for good measure he’d have had the time to properly cite sources.

Of course, quite a bit of those sources were copied almost verbatim. I wonder if they were deliberately left uncited so as to make it appear that SVA actually wrote them? Regarding this book, it’s like all he did was alphabetize other people’s work and add some adverbs.

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Interesting this, from Cheryl:

“The documents quote the email’s postscript, which says, “PS It might interest you to know that George Beahm [a third party author] commented that he had originally intended to write an encyclopedia of Harry Potter (which Jo has specifically reserved for herself, I understand) but seeing the Lexicon convinced him not to bother. I want you to know that one of the express purposes of the Lexicon is to dissuade people from that sort of thing, so I was particularly happy to hear him say that.”

I mentioned in the last posting of proceedings that George Beahm’s made quite a career of writing “encyclopedias” of contemporary writers and worlds—I have two of his works that he did on Stephen King. However, George had done what SVA did NOT do: provide additional research, generate original content, and find critical commentary. And Beahm DID do a collaboration on HP, called “Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World: An Unofficial Guide.” Sometimes I think I should have George’s job….

Thanks for helping us keep up with the case, Melissa. I like all the posting you’ve done from the original sources, all with clear citations and attributions, too! You’re a trooper!

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Once again your journalisticness is right on. Keep it up.


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i love the HP Lex, i think it is an important and amazing source for Harry Potter information Online, and that is where it should stay Online.

as a pretty new harry potter fan and fic writer to this fandom i found the lex to be a great source of information and i am happy it is online, since i don’t think Rowling will put her guide online, i think it should stay online, as a fan guide and nothing more, trying to make money out of it is wrong, not just for the greed in it but for the fact that the Steve’s guide will never be complete simply because he didn’t create and wrote the harry potter world, he will not be able to enlighten us on nothing new, while Jo’s guide might even give us new enlightenment on something’s that might not be clear to people.

i do hope she’ll win this because if not as she said it will have dire circumstances for authors world wide. Not to mention I doubt she will then do her own guide. What ever happens my money will be spend on Rowling’s guide.

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Regarding choices: Jo has chosen in the beginning to sign a contract with the giants. I´m not sure if this is a morally correct choice. But she is a christian! It would lead to far to argue this point here.

Posted by secunda

I don’t get what are you trying to say? and maybe you should read other ppl’s posts before commenting on them.

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Just remember folks, Warner Brothers has trademarked almost everything in the Harry Potter series. If this case is successful it will build precedent for global trademark protection on the internet. The internet will be considered “publishing” and will face “cease and desist” letters over unauthorized use of the trademarks. The trademarks include the words in Harry Potter – not just the images from the film or artwork, but the words, the word, the words. Please see this case for what it is – it’s not the only one going on right now, but it is certainly one of the most prominent.


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ZoeRose, JKR and WB already have significan authority to take down or scale back a lot of the fansites online. (Witness Anne Rice, or Disney).

They don’t need this case to do that. But they are saying they may well have to start to if RDR wins and they lose.

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We see the case for what it really is already, ZoeRose.

There are already laws and rules in place to protect internet copyrights/trademarks as evidenced by the fact that JKR/WB have sued people that infringed and intended to financially benefit off the HP copyright/trademark by registering HP domain names for squatter sites. Those copyrights/trademarks were upheld, the domain names were surrendered via court orders. Nothing horrible came of it.

Saying a win for WB/ JKRthis will have consequences is incorrect. What will have consequences, for the worse, is a win for RDR/SVA. A win for them could have serious deleterious effects on the internet.

Try reading up on the internet copyright/trademark laws, please, instead of spreading the equivalent of the much hyped, but little realized Y2K scare.

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I do hope that this comment “6. ... feels the premise that fans will buy both encyclopedias is “presumptuous and insensitive,” owing the first to an assumption that everyone would want to have two encyclopedias and the second to assuming they could afford both. ”..it is obvious to me that many people do not have money to buy every book that appeals to them.”

is also true about a movie that is split into…..not every one has money to throw away on two movie tickets per-person and on two DVD’S!

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Nefertiti, I would hope and think that even if book 7 is made into 2 movies that it will be sold in 1 DVD set. I would be more than willing to go sit at the theatre and watch a 5 hr movie, but considering that most places think fans wouldn’t be willing do that, they won’t do that, but there are many people that would be willing to give up stuff to be able to afford certain things they really want, I probably wouldn’t buy steves book, i would borrow from the library first to see if it was worth buying, but i will def buy jkr’s scottish book

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Sighs … I had hoped that we could let the courts do their thing and await the results, but if not, this is the place to get the facts as summarized, be able to get the links to verify for oneself, and comment on the issues as appropriate.

So, just a few comments (ha!! Since when have I ever had “just a few”!!)

In my opinion, as stated all along, a win for RDR means bad news for fansites and so on, for excatly the reason mentioned earlier in these comments .. it may not have anything to do with actually threatening to shut down a site, but substantially more to do with providing NO material for a site to work with, NO encouragement for a site to flourish and spread the word, and NO opportunity to benefit from what most sites do, which is to allow intelligent and thoughtful discussion and opinions.

Yes, Loren, a lot will depend on how the judge words the ruling in favour of JKR/WB, if that is the outcome, but in general, there should be no effect on a site and on fandom if they win. That is because most sites are already recognized as adhering to the concept of Fair Use by adding commentary, reporting on events related to the works and author, and providing analysis. Even the Lexicon site does that, the issue being that they do not wish to publish any of that original material, only their compilation of JKR work. I understand your concern, and support your right to BE concerned, and hope you are wrong about the possible outcome … I know, Loren, that you understand what I mean when I say that.

Related, of course, is the issue of internet copyright, and yes, these sites are already copyrighted and so on. The fact is, also as I have stated often before, that the whole issue of Intellectual Property rights, whether in print or on line, is vastly complex. Even the Judiciary is hampered by that fact, since there is precious little case law that allows generalizations, which is where new law comes from. Witness the fact that a) it took so long for the concept of Fair Use to reach the level of complexity it now has, and b) the fact that even the US Copyright Office notes that Fair Uses is so hard to be clear on that permission should ALWAYS be sought before using another’s copyrighted material.

Finally, also as I’ve mentioned before, there is no way to tell which way this case will ultimately go, because ther is no way to know what any given judge will think on any given day. That is the essence of Judgeship. They are people, making decisions based on their own understanding of the issues and tempered by their own sense of what is right. All evidence does is provide fodder for consideration, and the job of the lawyer is to format the evidence in such a way as to speak to what the lawyer believes is the judge’s sense of legal interpretation and sense of “what is right”. So we just have to wait and see.

I want to close by once again thanking Melissa for her efforts, and to join so many others in saying that a reading of the actual briefs makes it clear just how unbiased Melissa is. As someone correctly pointed out, she is reporting what the submission says, and, of course, since this is the Plaintiff’s position, any fair report will reflect the bias of the position, not the reporter. Melissa has been equally fair in reporting the position of the Defendants. The fact that many people are swayed against the Defendants reflects their OWN opinions and positions based on their OWN reading of the information. Melissa has not tried to influence anyone, only to inform in an unbiased way. Those who have changed their minds have admitted doing so based on the evidence, not on how it was reported.

PS.. thanks for pointingt out that Melissa’s picture is reminiscent of Bonnie Wright/Ginny Weasly. I have always thought so but was too reserved to mention it!


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Purchasing the book would be a blow against JKR and Harry. Let’s not let that happen. Let’s be the next Dumbledore’s Army and ban the book ! NEVER EVER purchase, read, borrow, or endorse the work.

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Having published several fan stories in another universe, I understand how passionate one can be about the story they love. I simply cannot believe the length that this guy seems to be willing to go to publish something he simply cannot have all the answers to.

Steve, what are you thinking? You’re pushing being a fan of something far past acceptable parameters and making the rest of us look bad! Sit down and shut up! Let Jo write her own encyclopedia—she’s the expert here.

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“Try reading up on the internet copyright/trademark laws, please, instead of spreading the equivalent of the much hyped, but little realized Y2K scare.”

We’re not deluded, Cara, merely babes in the woods who should be treated gently.

Morton, good to hear you again, & yes, I’d say the odds of the judge putting a new arrow in Creators’ quiver is low . . . but . . . in any case, your confidence boosts mine.

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Perhaps Ellid would be so gracious enough to summarize it for us next time then? I am not seeing any bias in it. If there was I am sure it would be somewhere in the intro.

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J.K. Rowling created this fantastic place we all vacation in…the Wizarding World. It seems only right to me that SVA, “a fan” respect what she imagined and penned. She holds all rights, we owe Harry Potter and his world to her. Respect people, it all comes down to that. Steve- are you a fan or just another guy looking for a buck? Yes, Steve has given us a ton of information accessible through Lexicon and thank you…however when it comes to print don’t you believe that J.K.R. the force behind this entire amazing series should be the one to reap…afterall she is the one who sowed the seed.

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Melissa, we love you!

Jo, those guys don’t stand a chance. Don’t worry. :)

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JKR has joined the Ministry of Magic in their attempts to suppress free thinking & expresison!

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Just one other comment. JKR’s asserted that she never indicated that any FSA winner was a favorite, which is not exactly correct, based on her statement while being a guest on Leaky. So what. First of all it clearly makes it out that Lexicon is NOT her favorite, and so, second, there was no evidence to suggest that she would have supported any revenue-generating endeavour by that Website or its founder, rather quite the contrary … and again, so what.

JKR, like SVA, is human and makes mistakes. This would not be the first she’s made, but it appears to be the ONLY one in this mountain of material and information.

While it might be used to try and indicate she has not been entirely truthful, I suspect that it will be recognized for what it is in the same way that some of SVA’s erroneous assertions will be .. that is was a mistake.

Also, if you want to be really nitpicky about it, the statement was made in the context of refuting an assertion that by being chosen to receive a FSA, the site is automatically a favorite. JKR has a personal favourite (she indicated Leaky, though she may have others). But that is not an automatic outflow of receiving a FSA. It is THAT connection, asserted or at least implied by SVA/RDR that JKR is refuting. There is ample wording to support that.

See what I mean people? It is JUST such a game as demonstrated in the above paragraph that is played in the halls of justice. And whether you are rich and famous, or a wannabe, or just some poor schnook caught up in a vortex of someone else’s doing, the game has its own rules and they change constantly based on how well one player or another can influence the referees!


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The case has nothing at all to do with free thinking or expression. Try again. Additionally, you do realize the Minisry of Magic isn’t real right?

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I have to say one reason, among many, that I’m upset with Steve is he’s re-inforcing that negative stereotype of being an arrogant American. I know we’re the largest market, but we’re not entitled to everything. And yes, I AM an American.

He should just back off. He has not been given the right to profit from Jo’s work.

One of the casualties I miss is “Canon conudrums” on Leaky. I always enjoyed Steve’s take on the questions (and frankly enjoyed the sound of his voice).

How sad this all is…

Jo… I’m in your corner

And Melissa… Thanks for all the work!!!

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FYI, the “my favorite fan site” quote is from the 2003 Royal Albert Hall event, about a year before JKR started awarding FSAs. We obviously love and are proud of the quote and would never take it away from the site, but it is, to say the least, outdated. JKR has not made any public statements saying the same since.

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Hmmm…excuse me Zaptoit…What color is the sky on your planet?????

Jo is not trying to suppress free thinking & expression! Far from it … she is constantly encouraging people to create and explore just by her marvelous example! Many sparks of creativity have been ignited by her work.

SVA on the other hand, has not created a “free” thought or self-generated expression of his own. He is an “intellectual VAMPIRE” ... feeding off JKR! Does the term “plagarize” mean anything to you? He is attempting to profit from Jo’s creation by STEALING her intellectual property. I am all for original thought … SVA is apparently incapable it.

Now tell me in what world is stealing not wrong? FYI … In this world it is.

Thank You Jo for generously sharing your world with us true fans that are in awe of your talent! We love you!

I am so sorry that you have been burdened with this dreck. You will prevail!